First ever tree-growing guide for Faith Organisations is launched at COP 15

Trillion Trees, WWF and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) have jointly published the first-ever comprehensive guide to tree growing, designed for use by faith groups across the world. 

Launched in December 2022 at the UN Biodiversity Conference COP15 in Montreal, Canada, the Tree growing for conservation and ecosystem restoration: A guide for faith-based actors outlines a straightforward and informative step-by-step approach to assist faith groups in planning and implementing tree-growing initiatives and engaging in restoring their local environment to benefit people, nature, and the climate. 

The guide sets out six clear steps providing a practical framework for any faith-based organisation or group to adapt to its own community and context. Each step was developed in consultation with faith actors on the ground already planting millions of trees, using evidence-based and proven approaches to restore multiple benefits through successful tree growing. The guide includes detailed guidance and a checklist for each step, ranging from agreeing the purpose and partnership for  tree-growing, developing, and implementing the plan and finally, caring for trees as they grown and sharing knowledge with the global restoration community. 

Tree growing for conservation and ecosystem restoration: A guide for faith-based actors will be available in 10 languages and emphasises the importance of growing the right trees in the right places and taking a rights-based approach, working in collaboration with local communities and Indigenous Peoples. It signposts valuable toolkits, and information resources, for example the Free, Prior and Informed Consent (FPIC) toolkit and the 10 principles of ecosystem restoration and ultimately how tree planting efforts can contribute to the UN Decade on Ecosystem Restoration through enhancing the use of best practices at a grassroots level.

Fran Price, Lead, WWF Global Forest Practice, said: “Faith groups play a powerful role as stewards of nature. And nature is a uniting force for all of us. By working together, we can build a force to help green our planet. Our report is the first of its kind and provides a clear framework for faith groups to mobilise their communities to plant and grow trees in a way that contributes to larger ecosystem restoration. At WWF, we’re proud to work with a diverse group of faith communities in different parts of the world and are excited to advance this collaboration to achieve transformational change for nature, people and the planet.”

John Lotspeich, Executive Director of Trillion Trees, welcomed the guidelines: “Nature and its benefits are at the centre of so many of the world’s faith traditions. So it is certainly the right time, as we turn to nature to help us address the climate crisis, that we work together to support faith groups in their efforts to restore the balance of nature on our planet. This new Trillion Trees guide provides a clear blueprint for actors of any faith to turn tree-planting into tree-growing and restore our landscapes for the long-term.”

Iyad Abumoghli, Director of UN Environment Programmes Faith for Earth Initiative, urges groups “to continue their tremendous efforts greening their houses of worship, schools, communities and cities, as expressions of their own faith values, devotion, whilst working towards harmony with nature, and also taking a closer look at their tree growing and restoration efforts by using this guide as a starting point. Faith communities are far-reaching and are exposed to every different type of ecosystem. We offer this Guide to help ensure that tree growing efforts incorporate the best available science of the landscape, its impacts, and above all, that an all-of-society approach is undertaken to scale restoration efforts locally.”

Dr. Fachruddin Mangunjaya, Head of the Centre for Islamic Studies, "In Islamic teachings, humans shall act as Guardians (Kalifah) of our shared planet. I think this Guide will inspire Muslims in Indonesia, as so many communities are planting trees and can benefit from the technical understanding of how their trees can survive over the long term so that all can benefit.”

The Rt. Rev. Joseph Obanyi Sagwe, Bishop of Kakamega Diocese, Kenya said, “The Christian faith is a source of strong motivation to care for Mother Earth, and tree growing is central to this goal. This Guidebook comes at the right time to support faiths across the world engage in tree growing in ways that complement the global agenda of ecosystem restoration.”

The six steps pathway towards successful and meaningful tree growing

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